Saturday 10 December 2016

Airbrushed from history: the unsung hero of Ireland's Celtic Revival

Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30

In her politics, she was both radical and progressive, her republicanism envisaging an Ireland of North and South that could transcend gender, religion, tribe and social class - exactly the kind of Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.
In her politics, she was both radical and progressive, her republicanism envisaging an Ireland of North and South that could transcend gender, religion, tribe and social class - exactly the kind of Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.

She is an unsung hero of the Celtic Revival, her vision contributing to the birth of modern Ireland. In the years leading up to 1916, she fused creativity and politics in a pioneering fashion, devoting her work to the campaign for independence. Yet when the writer Alice Milligan's name is mentioned today, most people ask: "Alice who?"

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Her 150th anniversary falls next week - she was born on September 14, 1866 - and it appears as though the date is being allowed to trickle by without a murmur of recognition from official Ireland.

What an oversight this is, considering how the State's independence springs, in part, from the activism and passion that poured from her pen. In being set aside as inconvenient, awkward, a gremlin in the authorised narrative, Alice is emblematic of so many Irishwomen whose impact has been minimised or never acknowledged.

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